That dollar amount reflects a 31.8% increase since 2017 and a 29.8% gain from 2020 to 2021.
Pakistan’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 69.7% of products exported from Pakistan were bought by importers in: United States of America (21.1% of the Pakistani total), mainland China (10.5%), United Kingdom (7.3%), Germany (5.4%), Netherlands (4.9%), United Arab Emirates (4.1%), Spain (3.5%), Italy (3.1%), Afghanistan (2.9%), Bangladesh (2.8%), Belgium (2.5%) and France (1.6%).
From a continental perspective, 35% of Pakistan’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 34.2% were sold to importers in Asia. Pakistan shipped another 22.8% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (5.2%), Latin America (1.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (1.3%) led by Australia.
Given Pakistan’s population of 222.6 million people, its total $28.9 billion in 2021 exports translates to $130 for every resident in the densely populated South Asian nation. That dollar metric exceeds the average $100 per capita in 2020.
Pakistan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Pakistani global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Pakistan.
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: US$5.5 billion (19.1% of total exports)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $4.5 billion (15.6%)
- Cotton: $3.4 billion (11.8%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.4 billion (11.8%)
- Cereals: $2.3 billion (7.8%)
- Copper: $818.3 million (2.8%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $697.6 million (2.4%)
- Fruits, nuts: $492.9 million (1.7%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $484.7 million (1.7%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $437 million (1.5%)
Pakistan’s top 10 exports accounted for over three-quarters (76.2%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Copper was the fastest grower among Pakistan’s top 10 export categories, up by 87.9% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories via a 46.8% gain.
Pakistan’s shipments of unknitted and non-crocheted clothing and accessories posted the third-fastest gain in value thanks to a 29.3% improvement.
The lone single-digit percentage increase of 7% belongs to Pakistani shipments of cereals, notably rice and corn.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Pakistan’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.
Products Generating Trade Surpluses for Pakistan
The following types of Pakistani product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: US$5.1 billion (Up by 26.2% since 2020)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $4.4 billion (Up by 46.4%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.4 billion (Up by 29.5%)
- Cotton: $1.5 billion (Up by 20.3%)
- Cereals: $1.3 billion (Down by -2.2%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $674.9 million (Up by 19.2%)
- Copper: $545.6 million (Up by 98.3%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $394 million (Up by 15.4%)
- Fish: $390.4 million (Up by 6.4%)
- Meat: $337.8 million (Up by 9.2%)
Pakistan has highly positive net exports in the international trade of clothing-related products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Pakistan’s strong competitive advantages under various clothing-related categories.
Products Causing Trade Deficits for Pakistan
Overall Pakistan incurred a -$44.2 billion trade deficit during 2021. That dollar amount results from an 87.4% expansion from -$23.6 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Pakistan that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Pakistan’s goods trail Pakistani importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$19.2 billion (Up by 89.2% since 2020)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$5.9 billion (Up by 34.8%)
- Machinery including computers: -$5.8 billion (Up by 46.8%)
- Iron, steel: -$4.5 billion (Up by 46.6%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$3.53 billion (Up by 59.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$3.52 billion (Up by 544.3%)
- Vehicles: -$3.3 billion (Up by 134%)
- Organic chemicals: -$3 billion (Up by 40.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.6 billion (Up by 43.8%)
- Oil seeds: -$1.7 billion (Up by 42.5%)
Pakistan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels including oil particularly red ink for refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases as well as crude oil.
Pakistan’s Major Export Companies
Based on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following are examples of world-class Pakistani companies.
- Oil & Gas Development (petroleum operations)
- Pakistan State Oil (petroleum operations)
Wikipedia also lists businesses headquartered in Pakistan that export their products. Selected examples are shown below.
- Dalda (vegetable oil)
- Engro Corporation (fertilizers, petrochemicals)
- Ghani Automobile Industries (motorcycles)
- Ittefaq Group (steel)
- Ittehad Chemicals Limited (chemicals)
- Khaadi (hand-woven clothing)
- Madina Sugar Mills (PVT) Limited (sugar)
- Master Motors (truck manufacturer)
- Murree Brewery (beverages)
- Servis Tyres (tire maker)
Searchable List of Pakistan’s Most Valuable Export Products in 2021
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Pakistan during 2021. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2020.
|Rank||Pakistan's Export Product||2021 Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$2,753,873,000||+31.8%|
|4||Yarn (85%+ cotton)||$1,160,839,000||+44.1%|
|5||Woven fabrics (85%+ cotton)||$873,145,000||+31.1%|
|6||Men's suits,trousers (knit or crochet)||$837,180,000||+59%|
|7||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$794,273,000||+75.6%|
|8||Woven cotton fabrics||$662,779,000||+6.3%|
|9||Leather clothing, accessories||$652,598,000||+20.4%|
|10||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$620,249,000||+52.4%|
|11||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$606,523,000||+88.6%|
|12||Men's shirts (knit or crochet)||$593,900,000||+43.1%|
|13||Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)||$526,402,000||+38.8%|
|14||Miscellaneous articles, dress patterns||$520,374,000||+21%|
|15||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$420,937,000||+16.2%|
|17||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$322,113,000||+31.1%|
|18||Gloves, mitts (knit or crochet)||$319,470,000||+20.3%|
|19||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$311,195,000||+49.5%|
|20||Woven fabrics (under 85% cotton)||$289,607,000||+26.3%|
|23||Fresh or chilled beef||$271,201,000||+20.9%|
|24||Cruise/cargo ships, barges||$249,358,000||+9421%|
|26||Medication mixes in dosage||$235,896,000||+14.3%|
|29||Woven fabrics under 85% synthetic staple fibers||$198,746,000||+29.4%|
|31||Woven fabrics under 85% cotton||$184,750,000||+43.8%|
|33||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$171,579,000||-16.5%|
|34||Men's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)||$166,853,000||+50.1%|
|35||Onions, garlic, leeks||$147,398,000||+16.9%|
|39||Other woven fabrics||$115,605,000||+21.4%|
|40||Whole fish (frozen)||$114,252,000||-33.4%|
|44||Curtains, drapes, blinds||$106,243,000||+14.8%|
|45||Camp items including tents, sails||$105,884,000||-12.7%|
|46||Other animal leather||$104,564,000||+41.8%|
|47||Men's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)||$104,436,000||+21.5%|
|48||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$102,730,000||+1.7%|
|49||Chromium ores, concentrates||$94,663,000||+77.3%|
|50||Spices including ginger, saffron, turmeric||$93,976,000||+14.5%|
|51||Mixed woven fabrics with synthetic staple fibers||$92,815,000||+60%|
|52||Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)||$92,179,000||+44.1%|
|55||Other food preparations||$78,394,000||+52.1%|
|56||Knitted or crocheted women's blouses||$77,753,000||+29.4%|
|59||Animal/vegetable hydrogenated fats, oils||$76,363,000||+87.3%|
|60||Woven fabrics (high synthetic fibres)||$75,427,000||+34.6%|
|61||Textile floor coverings, carpets||$73,384,000||+46.2%|
|63||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$69,296,000||+39.9%|
|64||Yarn (under 85% cotton)||$68,664,000||+111.7%|
|65||Hair clippers, cleavers, similar cutlery||$68,445,000||+22.7%|
|66||Salts including table salt||$67,980,000||+13.9%|
|67||Infant clothing (knit or crochet)||$64,514,000||+38.5%|
|68||Solid-form sugars, fructose, glucose, lactose||$61,324,000||+52.4%|
|69||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$59,577,000||+20.1%|
|70||Other than warp-knit fabrics||$59,068,000||+68%|
|71||Rags, scrap twine/rope||$57,755,000||+30.1%|
|72||Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)||$53,462,000||+5.6%|
|74||Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes||$52,386,000||+110%|
|75||Tracksuits, swimwear (knit or crochet)||$48,717,000||+30.6%|
|76||Packing sacks, bags||$48,403,000||+10.6%|
|78||Cereal straws, husks||$48,347,000||+27.8%|
|79||Men's overcoats, jackets||$48,132,000||+26.8%|
|81||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$47,526,000||+16.1%|
|82||Inedible meat flour||$46,285,000||+88.9%|
|83||Vegetable saps, extracts||$42,736,000||+7.5%|
|84||Blankets, travel rugs||$42,507,000||+19.6%|
|86||Cellulose fiber paper||$39,685,000||+28.2%|
|87||Synthetic yarn woven fabrics||$38,427,000||+51.9%|
|88||Other clothing accessories||$38,320,000||-44.1%|
|89||Women's singlets,pyjamas (not knit or crochet)||$35,707,000||-18.3%|
|90||Air or vacuum pumps||$35,203,000||+10.2%|
|91||Iron ores, concentrates||$34,926,000||+73.3%|
|92||Cases, handbags, wallets||$31,933,000||-4%|
|93||Sheep or goat meat||$31,560,000||-29.9%|
|94||Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$31,042,000||+30.7%|
|95||Copper waste, scrap||$30,323,000||+105.1%|
|96||Animal guts, bladders, stomachs||$30,294,000||+50.1%|
|97||Unknitted, non-crocheted mitts, gloves||$30,130,000||+31.5%|
|98||Women's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)||$30,027,000||+9.5%|
|99||Copper bars, rods||$28,978,000||+29.1%|
|100||Household items, kitchenware and tableware||$28,651,000||+29.2%|
These 100 top exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$26.4 billion or 91.3% by value for all products exported from Pakistan during 2021.
In macroeconomic terms, Pakistan’s total exported goods represent 2.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($1.33 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 2.2% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2021 compares to 2% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Pakistan’s total economic performance, albeit based on a relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Pakistan’s average unemployment rate was an estimated 7.4% for 2021 up from an average 4.4% in 2020, according to metrics from the International Monetary Fund.
See also Pakistan’s Top Trading Partners, Pakistan’s Top 10 Imports and Top Asian Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on May 24, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 24, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 24, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 24, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 24, 2022
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Purchasing power parities (PPP). Accessed on May 24, 2022
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on May 24, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on May 24, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Pakistan. Accessed on May 24, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on May 24, 2022
Wikipedia, Pakistan. Accessed on May 24, 2022